Best places to exchange currency in Sydney

TransferWise content team
13.01.17
4 minute read

Sydney has more than a fair share of famous icons - from the Opera House and Harbour Bridge to Elle Macpherson and Hugh Jackman. Not to mention that its beaches, parks, shopping and nightlife make Sydney a perfect year-round destination. It’s not surprising so many people fall in love at first sight and choose to visit or stay.

No promises that you’ll spot any celebrities when you’re there, but even the most fleeting of trips will reward you with some of the best architecture and culture in the country. Who knows? Maybe you’ll decide to stay.

Travelling to a new place means exchanging some currency to pay your way. Use this guide to avoid the rip-offs, and find the best places to exchange your cash into Australian dollars Sydney.

Things to know before exchanging currency

  1. Get familiar with the mid-market exchange rate. Know what your home currency is really worth before you go changing it.
  2. Compare the rate you’re offered with the real rate using an online currency converter. Make sure the deal you’re getting is fair.
  3. If you can, avoid exchange services in and around airports and hotels. They tend to offer worse deals than the rest of the city.
  4. ATMs are a great option. Check with your home bank to see if they have any partnerships with banks located in Sydney. Using those ATMs could save you on fees.
  5. Don’t let the Australian ATM do any conversion for you. Choose to be charged in the local currency (AUD) to avoid unexpected fees.

The rate you should know when exchanging your money is the mid-market rate. This is the rate banks use when they trade currency on the global market. It’s the base rate shown before commission is added and is the same one you’ll find on Google.

You can check the live mid-market rate using an online currency converter. Compare this exchange rate against those in Sydney to find the fairest deal.

Airports and hotels, for example, are usually not good choices. The people passing through are generally looking for convenience and, in turn, are presented with poorer rates and higher commission charges.

A good option is to use an ATM to withdraw those Australian dollars. Not only is it convenient, you should also get a fairly decent rate if you follow a couple of simple rules.

Firstly, check with your home bank to see if they have any deals arranged with local banks in Sydney. If they do, they might waive the ATM withdrawal fee if you use their partner banks during your visit.

Secondly, if you’re asked ‘Would you like to be charged in your home currency?’, press the ‘No’ button. You’ll get a fairer deal being charged in the local currency, so in this case AUD. Otherwise you’ll be assigned a rate unknown to you at the time, but likely to be a poorer one. The ATM may also ask if you’d like them to perform the conversion for you. Politely decline. To ensure a better deal, request instead to have your home bank’s conversion rate applied

Avoid changing money more often than you have to. Try not to take out too much cash, and spend what you have while you’re there. Otherwise you’re going to be hit twice for conversion charges, and end up with less for yourself.

Where to exchange money

All of the exchange services listed below will still charge fees. Compare the rates on offer to the mid-market rate to ensure you’re choosing the fairest option.

Travelex

Locations

Offering 5 locations inside of Sydney, three of which are located inside HSBC banks. Check out the Travelex branch locator to find the nearest one.

Phone Number

Check out their website for phone numbers for each location.

Opening Hours

All branches are closed on the weekends except the location inside the Queen Victoria building. Check out their website for specific branch opening hours.

Travel Money Oz

Locations

Offering 25 branches in and around Sydney. Check out the Travel Money Oz store locator for the closest to you.

Phone Number

1300 426 997 (general line)

Opening Hours

Many stores are open on the weekends, but view individual branch locations for opening hours

American Express

Locations

Locations Phone Number
American Express Building: 45 Sussex Street 1300 139 060
Australia post (inside): Stockland House, 181 Castlereagh Street 1300 139 060

Opening Hours

  • American Express Building: Mon - Fri: 9.00am - 5.00pm
  • Australia post (inside): Mon - Fri: 9.00am - 4.45pm

Alternatively - for an even better deal - use TransferWise. If you have a bank account in Australia, or know someone who does, you can transfer money between accounts using the real mid-market exchange rate. This means no worrying about opening hours, or trekking round a new city looking for an address. Fair Dinkum, mate.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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